Award criteria

The jury will rate each entry on the basis of the following:

Creativity of solution
Impact or improvement over existing product
Production values

Members of each of the juries will be involved in the final decision on the Covid-19 Special Commendation.

The jury may decide not to choose three finalists if it believes the level to be below the standard.

All decisions made by the jury are final and cannot be subject to any appeal.


The jury of each category is comprised of experts in their respective fields.

Chair - John Baulch

John has over 40 years’ experience of working in the toy trade press, dating back to 1980. In 2011, he launched his own toy trade magazine – Toy World – which has become indispensable reading for anyone connected with the toy trade. John is also personally responsible for writing the Friday Blog, an online column which offers insight and analysis on the latest developments from the world of toys each week.
John Baulch

Catherine Naughton

Catherine Naughton is the Director of the European Disability Forum (EDF), a unique platform which brings together representative organisation of persons with disabilities from across Europe. She is also the Vice President of the Social Platform. Social Platform is the largest network of European rights and value-based civil society organisations working in the social sector.

Catherine has an academic background in public health, and 20 years of experience in the field of disability with a particular focus on inclusive development: the rights of persons with disabilities in low and middle income countries.

She has worked in many countries, and at the EU and International level in promoting the inclusion of person with disabilities in mainstream development and humanitarian programmes.

She also has 4 children, so a house full of toys.

Catherine is judging: Empowerment
Catherine Naughton

Dee Saigal

Dee Saigal is the founder, CEO and Creative Director of Erase All Kittens – the first game designed to give girls the confidence to code, whilst teaching digital and 21st Century skills. Like many women, Dee grew up believing that careers in technology were more for men – which is why it took her years to follow her dream of getting into game design, and why she founded EAK. She and her team spent 12 months interviewing hundreds of students before designing their product, in order to create a coding tool that girls genuinely love. EAK has 150,000 players in over 100 countries, and 95% of girls want to learn more about coding after playing. The team have partnered with organisations including MIT, Accenture and Finastra, to deliver digital skills to students aged 8-13 globally. Dee’s goal is for EAK to transform the way that children perceive coding globally, and to help prepare girls for 21st Century degrees and careers.

Dee is judging: Empowerment
Dee Saigal

Dr Amanda Gummer

Amanda has a PhD in neuropsychology, the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and over 20 years experience working with children and families. Widely considered as the UK’s go to expert on play, toys and child development, she combines her theoretical knowledge with a refreshingly pragmatic approach to family life, that resonates both with parents and professionals. Her book ‘Play’ was published in May 2105 and has been translated into two different languages with extracts being published in the USA’s Toy Industry Association’s Genius of Play initiative.

Amanda’s international profile is growing rapidly – she is spoke at the European Parliament in Sept 2019 on child development and play and in Dallas in October discussing her research.  Amanda is regularly in the media, continues to take an active role in research, and is often involved in government policy around children’s issues.

Amanda is judging: Future Skills
Amanda Gummer

Dr Maria Costa

Dr. Maria Costa has a PhD in Learning Sciences. Since 1992, Dr. Costa is the director of Research & Development Department at AIJU (Technological Institute for Children Products and Leisure) in Spain. Dr Costa has controlled scientific-technical coordination and management of European and National projects and designed and started up diverse methodologies of sociological investigation and market research. As well as conducting multiple studies in the areas of play, toys, childhood and social inclusion, Dr. Costa is the author of articles, posts and books related to changes in society, parenting, children’s preferences, toy trends, retail strategies, usability in toys and games, diversity, inclusion and other topics. From 2015 to 2018 she has been member of European Ludi Cost Action, focused on Play for children with disabilities. Dr. Costa is a member of International Trend Committee at Spielwarenmesse since 2014 and has been technical consultant for children’s products companies, industrial federations and other organisations on a national and international level.

Maria is judging: Empowerment
Maria Costa

Dr Martin Porter

Martin joined CISL from the European Climate Foundation, where he was working as Europe Group Co-ordinator. He has also led their Industry and Innovation programme and has a long track record of working on industry, environment and sustainability issues prior to taking up that role in 2015. He is also an expert advisor to the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 on climate and resource issues, a representative on the Economic and Social Committee’s Commission on Industrial Change, a member of UCL’s European Institute Advisory Board and a member of the advisory board to the Sustainable Biomass Programme.

He became a Senior Associate for CISL in 2011 and prior to that developed his public affairs consultancy activities largely in this area. He led advocacy campaigns for a range of blue-chip multinational clients, trade associations and coalitions as he established his career in Brussels through international PR agencies such as Weber Shandwick Worldwide and Edelman PR Worldwide, as well as co-founding Brussels’ first ‘think-do tank’, The Centre.

Martin is judging: Sustainability

Erika Brodnock

Erika Brodnock is an award winning entrepreneur (including Female Entrepreneur of the Year and Intel’s Global Business Challenge), philanthropist, angel investor and keynote speaker. She is also an MBA, the Head of Research at Extend Ventures, a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a PhD candidate in the Inclusion Initiative at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences where she is researching how the power of big data and machine learning can be used to diversify access to funding and investment for diverse entrepreneurs and innovators.

Through her work at the intersection of technology, wellbeing and product development, Erika has built products and services in the ed-tech, child and parental wellbeing markets that disrupt and spearhead a path out of outdated systems.

Erika is Sky News’ resident parenting expert; founder of software companies Karisma Kidz and Kami; a Non-Executive Director of The Good Play Guide; and she serves on the advisory board of the APPG for Entrepreneurship.

Erika is judging: Future Skills
Erika Brodnock

Florian Hess

Florian Hess, has been Director Fair Management of Spielwarenmesse eG since early 2016. As such, he is responsible for the organisation of all trade fairs of the co-operative company, that is specialising in providing the leading business platforms for the toy and stationery industries. His background is in strategy consulting, where he worked on numerous international assignments in the telecoms and FMCG sectors. Before joining Spielwarenmesse eG, Florian ran two companies, one specialising in professional services for trade fairs and the other organising a leading trade fair for the re-use of industrial equipment, involving contacts to many developing and emerging countries.

Florian is judging: Sustainability
Florian Hess

Harald Kaeb

Harald Kaeb is founder and owner of narocon InnovationConsulting. He has a PhD in chemistry and a track record of more than 25 years of professional services and expertise in sustainable chemistry and plastics. From 1999 to 2009 he chaired the Board of the European Bioplastics Industry Association. The circular and biobased economy has been the basis and action area of his entire career. Being very familiar with the science and regulatory framework, Harald provides consulting services to major players up and down the value chain to expand innovative sustainable practices. He is convinced that the toy industry can play a leading role in educating about and applying sustainability principles. He is the founder and program director of the bi-annual conference.

Harald is judging: Sustainability
Harald Kaeb

Jackie Marsh

Jackie is a Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, where she is engaged in research on young children’s play and digital literacy practices in homes, schools and communities. Over the last two decades, Jackie has conducted a range of research studies examining the changing nature of play in the digital age, and she has explored the role that playful and creative approaches to learning can have in fostering children’s digital literacy development. She was Chair of the EU COST Action, ‘The Digital Literacy and Multimodal Practices of Young Children’ (DigiLitEY), which brought together researchers from 37 countries to explore young children’s learning in the digital age. Jackie was also the director of ‘Makerspaces in the Early Years: Enhancing Digital Literacy and Creativity’ (MakEY), an EU Horizon 2020-funded project involving 12 countries, which examined the role of makerspaces in developing the kinds of skills children will need for the digital future. Jackie has worked with a range of children’s media industry partners in a collaborative effort to enhance the quality of digital products and services for children.

Jackie is judging: Future Skills
Jackie Marsh

Julie Paquay

Julie’s role consists of enhancing the company’s reputation and representing its business interests with key external stakeholders including the EU institutions, non-governmental organisations and trade associations. She drives Unilever’s progressive sustainability agenda in Brussels, which includes its ambitious packaging commitments to halve virgin plastic by 2025 and to use at least 25% of recycled plastic across its foods and beverage, homecare, and personal care portfolio.

Prior to joining Unilever she worked at Landmark Public Affairs, an independent international public affairs and strategic communications agency for almost 10 years, managing several consumer goods companies’ accounts. A graduate from the University of Brussels and the London School of Economics (LSE), she also worked on several projects for the LSE Department of Government after obtaining her master’s degree.

Julie is judging: Sustainability
Julie Paquay

Pascual Martinez

Pascual Martinez is a Policy and Advocacy Officer at COFACE Families Europe where he deals with Employment and Gender Equality affairs. Since 2016, when COFACE Families Europe published a European study of toy catalogues “Making or breaking stereotypes?”, COFACE Families Europe has run an annual social media campaign wave on #ToysandDiversity. Pascual co-led the 2019 campaign, “Toy stories”, the first Europe-wide survey on “Toys and Diversity”, highlighting the importance of letting children decide what to play with for their creativity, imagination, learning development and fun.

Pascual has several years of experience in EU affairs, and has worked with different organisations and EU institutions, where he has closely monitored and helped to shape key EU legislation pertaining to social and economic issues. He holds two Masters in Economics and Politics and another one of the College of Europe of Bruges.

Pascual is judging: Empowerment

Roberto Ferrigno

Roberto is the founder and director of a Brussels-based consultancy specialising in sustainability issues. He has an extensive background in environmental advocacy, strategic policy advice and EU public affairs. He held senior management positions in global and European organisations, such as Greenpeace International, the European Environmental Bureau, the World Wildlife Fund and Weber Shandwick.

Roberto was also appointed national expert for Italy in the Secretariat of the Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment at the Economic and Social Committee of the European Communities and he worked in the Italian Agency for the Protection of the Environment as strategic and policy advisor to the President.

Roberto is judging: Sustainability
Roberto Ferrigno

Tessa Trabue

Tessa Trabue is a campaigner for Let Toys Be Toys, an award-winning UK based campaign challenging gender stereotypes in childhood, especially in toy marketing, publishing, education and the media. Tessa joined the campaign in early 2013 after being inspired to act when seeing the negative effects of gendered marketing on her young child.  Let Toys Be Toys has successfully convinced 15 major UK toy retailers to remove ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ signposting in the toy aisles, and let children have the freedom to choose things that interest them most, free from gender stereotypes. The campaign is currently working with the toy industry to persuade manufacturers to make their packaging and advertising more inclusive.

Tessa is a founding member of the campaign’s offshoot Let Books Be Books, which has persuaded 11 children’s book publishers to drop the gendered labels.  She is also co-founder of Let Toys Be Toys Toymark award, which celebrates UK retailers that model good practice in marketing to children.  Tessa is a member of the UK Fawcett Society’s Commission on Gender Stereotypes in Early Childhood. She has also acted as a toy judge two times each for the Science Toy Award and for the annual MadeforMums Toy Awards.

Tessa is judging: Empowerment
Tessa Trabue

Tommaso Dalla Vecchia

Tommaso Dalla Vecchia has been working at European Schoolnet since 2012. As Development and Advocacy Manager, he is responsible for the relations with public and private bodies supporting European Schoolnet in the field of innovation in education. He has been coordinating also the network of Ed Tech and ICT companies engaged in the Future Classroom Lab, an inspirational learning environment dedicated to technology enhanced education and school innovation.

Tommaso is contributing to the management of awareness raising, education and training projects, and he is currently coordinating EUN contributions to a major advocacy and communication campaign, the EU Code Week, a grass-roots movement that celebrates creativity, problem solving, programming and other tech activities. The campaign aims also at promoting the introduction of coding and programming teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools.

Tommaso is judging: Future Skills
Tommaso Dalla Vecchia